Step 1. Understand that opening a coconut requires a considerable use of precise force. Because you are using a knife or cleaver, it is very important that you keep your fingers and other body parts away from the blade. Step 2. Clear off a stable cutting surface. Step 3. Begin scraping off the white, sinewy upper layer around the pointed top of the coconut, using your knife. Scrape off the top layer until a brown ridge is revealed around the base of the pointed top. Right where this brown layer ends is the ridge in which you will place your knife to split the coconut open. Step 4. Once you have identified this circular ridge, begin scraping a groove or notch in which to place the knife. This will give your knife some traction. Step 5. Strike the knife or cleaver into this notch to lodge the blade in the coconut. This is the hard part. After the blade is lodged, lift the coconut with your other hand and strike the knife and coconut down in one continuous motion on the cutting surface. It is basically the same motion as splitting wood with an axe. This is the part that might take some practice, so don't be discouraged. When you finally split the top, the juice will start pouring out. Step 6. Turn the coconut right-side up as quick as possible. Save as much juice as you can, but don't worry if you lose some. There is a lot in there. Drain the juice into a container to be used as a sweet liquid for smoothies, stir fries, etc. Step 7. Begin scraping off the thin layer of white meat inside the coconut. Be careful not to press too hard, as you want only the white layer and not the brown stuff behind it. You can cut the brown parts off without much difficulty if needed. Step 8. Store the coconut meat and juice in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.